Your tot just wants to play all day and has been fight­ing naps. Get him into bed with these strate­gies.

Young Parents (Singapore) - - Contents -

Even though you have an af­ter­noon nap rou­tine for your tod­dler, you may find that it’s no longer work­ing. Now, he just wants to play all day in­stead.

Your one-year-old’s phys­i­cal needs change through­out this sec­ond year – he has more en­ergy and en­thu­si­asm, and he starts to as­sert his in­de­pen­dence. So he’d much rather stay awake and play than get his af­ter­noon nap.

The prob­lem is, with­out that quick recharge, he can be­come tired – and ir­ri­ta­ble. Here’s how you can get him into bed.

Adapt his nap rou­tine

Six months ago, he slept for two hours just af­ter lunch. Now he only needs an hour’s nap in the mid­dle of the af­ter­noon. So change his nap sched­ule to suit his need for sleep. Of course, he may still re­sist, but he is more likely to co­op­er­ate when the time for sleep closely matches his phys­i­cal needs.

Fol­low the plan

Stick to this nap rou­tine, even if on some days he doesn’t seem par­tic­u­larly tired at that time. If you wait un­til he be­comes so ex­hausted that he cries, you’ll have a strug­gle ev­ery day.

The more reg­u­lar this pat­tern, the less your tod­dler will re­sist when it is time for a nap. Rou­tine helps his body pre­pare for a nap at that time, whether he is psy­cho­log­i­cally ready or oth­er­wise.

Keep ev­ery­thing calm

When his nap­time ap­proaches, cre­ate a calm at­mos­phere in your house. Your one-year-old is less likely to want to sleep if he is very ex­cited or in the mid­dle of a stim­u­lat­ing ac­tiv­ity.

Re­lax­ing ac­tiv­i­ties, such as play­ing qui­etly with a toy or lis­ten­ing to a story, can help set­tle him. Start this calm­ing process at least 10 min­utes be­fore his day­time nap usu­ally be­gins.

Es­tab­lish a pre-nap rou­tine

When the pat­tern be­comes firmly es­tab­lished in his mind, he un­der­stands the first step means he will soon be tucked up un­der the blan­ket. With that, your tod­dler is less likely to re­sist.

The ac­tual rou­tine it­self does not mat­ter – what’s im­por­tant is that he fol­lows a set se­quence that al­ways end up with him go­ing into his bed.

Per­sist de­spite protests

If he re­sists de­spite your prepa­ra­tion, per­sist any­way. Stay calm, talk to him gen­tly, but be de­ter­mined to get him into his bed. Ig­nore his tears, change him and put him un­der the cov­ers. Through all this, talk to him in a re­as­sur­ing tone, even though you may be feel­ing very tense. His com­plaints will grad­u­ally ease once he re­alises a nap is in­evitable.

Cre­ate a calm at­mos­phere in your house. Re­lax­ing ac­tiv­i­ties, such as lis­ten­ing to a story, help set­tle him.

Soothe him

Once your tod­dler lies in his bed, with the cur­tains closed, sit be­side him and com­fort him for a few min­utes. Use a quiet voice so he feels more re­laxed – he might close his eyes and drift off as he lis­tens, or he might lie qui­etly with his eyes open. Af­ter that, give him a cud­dle and a kiss, then leave the room slowly and qui­etly.

Keep him in his bed

If your tod­dler starts cry­ing in­stead of nod­ding off, don’t take him out of the bed­room. If you give in (such as giv­ing him a drink or play­ing a game with him), he will refuse to go for a nap the next time, too. Calm him, re­as­sure him and leave the room once more.

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